Staff Review

Accessible Venice travel for wheelchair users


11 Feb 2019

by The Kirker Team

Kirker Holidays

The mention of Venice tends to put an image in one’s mind of stepped bridges over canals, gliding along the water in a water taxi and narrow winding streets which you can happily get lost in for hours. But perhaps those images could also seem daunting for someone who is slightly less confident on their feet for long periods of time, or would rather experience Venice without so many steps, especially if you are a wheelchair user. However, fear not, whilst I was visiting I took special care to note the best and most easily accessible things to do, ways to get around without the steps, and places to stay with easily accessible rooms.

Accessible travel from the airport and around Venice

On your arrival you will be met from the airport or train station by one of our friendly ground agents who will show you to your private (or shared) water taxi. Traditionally water taxis have steps to get in and out of them and our agents are there to assist you in entering and exiting the taxi, however, if you are uncertain about using steps or are a wheelchair user do not worry, let us know in advance and we will make sure that the transfer is adapted as appropriate so that your needs are catered for – it is even possible to arrange a wheelchair-friendly boat.

Getting around Venice by public transport is also quite manageable and the network of vaporetto water buses is both efficient and wheelchair accessible, especially if you have an extra pair of hands to help you getting on and off. There is no step when you get on or off a vaporetto, but the height of the water (and passenger load of the vessel) will affect how smooth it is. Routes 1 and 2 travel up and down the Grand Canal and offer a fabulous panorama of the city from the water.

Which sights in Venice are wheelchair accessible?

The main obstacles to those looking to explore Venice by wheelchair are of course the bridges and canals – there are more than 400 bridges in the city, many of which are stepped and have no alternative ramps. However, despite this a surprisingly large portion of the city is actually flat and easy to explore without having to cross a canal. Much of the San Marco neighbourhood, as well as the Dorsoduro and other areas, is actually very accessible. In fact, in some ways Venice is more easy to explore than other big cities – there are no hills, no traffic, no curbs and no cobblestones – pavements are generally smooth and broad.

St Mark’s Square is one of the most iconic sites of Venice and the surrounding streets are flat and reasonably wide in general so getting around is made as easy as possible for exploring. When trying to move around other parts of the city I would also recommend the water bus which travels various routes down the grand canal and is a wonderful way to see Venice, this also has step free access and is wheelchair friendly so exploring new areas of the city is as easy as can be.

A trip to Doge’s Palace should be first on your wish list, and I am pleased to say that they do cater very well to those who wish to avoid stairs or need wheelchair access. There is an accessible entrance without any steps and an elevator to take you to the upper floors so you won’t miss out on the beautiful art work on display or the famous architecture of the building.

Wheelchair-friendly hotels in Venice

When it comes to hotels I would personally recommend the Londra Palace. With a beautiful lobby and bar area on the ground floor and elevator access to nearly all rooms this hotel is a real gem. After recent renovations most rooms now have walk in showers and the décor throughout is classical Venetian with a new and fresh feel to it. If possible, book a junior suite with terrace which gives an unrivalled view of the lagoon and a perfect spot for watching the sun set. This hotel is also perfectly located with St Mark’s and the Doges Palace just around the corner.

Venice should be on everyone’s travel wish list, regardless of mobility. Please get in touch for a tailor-made quotation and an itinerary designed to suit your personal requirements.

Speak to an expert - 020 7593 2288

Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.


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